New Hope Notes
The Sounds of Silence
Pastor Elwin Ahu
According to the Bible, we are constantly reminded that the Lord will never fail us or leave us. But it seems to be in the world terms, He seems to be absent and silent especially when we needed Him the most. For the next seven weeks, we are going to tackle a new series entitled “When Jesus seems Absent.” Sample questions, if God is present, why are we still lonely? Another questions is, if God is present, why do I still sin? A few more will be tackled in these series which will help built our faith for today.
Isn’t it so just uncomfortable just watching the podium being empty? Some of you must be saying to each other and looking at the Sound team, “What happened?” Where is the person handling the sound? Where is Pastor Elwin?” For some of you, you wanted to get up and leave. It is really such an awkward feeling. How do we handle silence, especially when God is silent or absent. It is good when we ask God to deal with our situation and we get a “Yes” or “No” but the silence. It is bad enough when we dial God and on the other end of the receiver we get a silence. In our sermon today, we will get some answers.
In the Bible, a great example of that was in the Book of Job. Job was a faithful man of God. He had everything a man could ask for. One day satan and God were conversing about Job and what satan would do. God trust him. A calamity fell upon him. God allowed this to happen. He lost his family, possessions and his health. He had boils all over his body. He tried to scrape the boils off his body. He suffered so much. Job cried out to God. Why God did allow this to happen to Job, a man of God?
Let us read the Bible verse in the Book of Job…
“I cry to You, O God, but You don’t answer. I stand before You, but You don’t even look. You have become cruel toward me. You use Your power to persecute me. You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm. (Job 30:20-22 NLT)
God was silent. Job was crying out loud to him. What was happening?
Here is point number one…
1. WHEN GOD SEEMS SILENT, ADJUST YOUR POSTURE.
We need to position ourselves towards God. We need to tune in to God. Today we hear so many voices out there. We can’t discern between the voice of God and the world. So many things are thrown at us. Nowadays, we have IPODs and other devices to listen to. With one push of a button, we could get the station we want to listen. Before we have those radios we turn on from one station to the next to search for the right music or what we want to listen. A good illustration of that is a hand crank radio. Let me have someone bring one out. This one is what we would use during an emergency. We do have the antenna to get the correct signal. Then we have the dial to find the stations. But we run out of juice or power, we have to crank it up. Do you think if we turn to another station that the station would close up shop and have their personnel leave? No, they continue to operate… that is the same with God. We turn him off and do something else. Even though we stop talking to Him, He is still broadcasting. We just need to posture towards Him. We need to tune in to God. We need to hear His voice alone.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Ps. 37:4, 7 NIV)
What the Lord is saying here is that we need to keep our eyes on Him. We need to channel our energies toward Him and what God is asking of us. Our greater distraction is when we keep on looking at others and keep complaining why we don’t have blessings like they do. We concentrate why others are getting the blessings and not us. But the Lord wants us to look towards Him. We constant blame others and our situations. We never look at God anymore, who is our source.
In the next verses, the illustration is clearer…let us read…
“He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47)
We need to remove all the distractions in our lives. Some people ask me what to do in various situations. For example, they just got divorce, they have lawsuits against them, they just lost their jobs, and so many things are happening to them. I tell them that don’t make any major decisions without clearing your life out of all the junk and tuning into God. Just suggestions, get some CDs and place your headsets on and listen to Christian music, read the Bible, do your devotions, and do something gearing towards God. Add another reading to your season of your life. Read the Book of Psalms. King David had written so many of his experiences in this book of the Bible. Get rid of all those things in your heart that clog your relationship with God like jealousy, anger, pride, unresolved sins, broken relationships and bitterness. These are the things that hold us up towards hearing God. It is not so much that God is not speaking or silent but we need to gear ourselves towards Him.
2. WHEN GOD DOESN’T SEEM TO SAY ANYTHING, SET YOUR CONFIDENCE ON WHAT HE’S ALREADY SAID.
There are 7,000 promises of God in the Bible. We need to look into those promises. We need to trust God more and stand on those promises.
Let us read the next Bible verse…which is a promise…
"As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice.” (Ps. 55:16-17)
Moses, Paul, and Jesus said prayers mentioned in the Bible that were not answered. What sustained them? They believed in His promises and what He has already said.
“He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.’ Again He came and found then sleeping…And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same things once more.” (Matt. 26:42-44)
God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer. He went back and He found his disciples sleeping. He did this three times. He knew He had to fulfill a prophecy. The last one will save you so much.
3. WHEN GOD IS SILENT, DON’T TRY TO FIND HIM; BE STILL.
We have verses in the Bible that says to ask, seek, and knock. To keep asking; keep knocking… but it doesn’t mean for us to keep chasing him. The devil has a strategy that makes us think that what we do pushes God and makes us chase Him. That is a lie. Nothing that we have done makes God loves us less. This is the devils lie. With this premise…let us read…
Next Bible verse…
"Behold, I go forward but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:8-10)
During this time of Job, the culture was different. Job was saying here that he went everywhere, east, south, north and west to find God. He didn’t find him. In turn, God knew where he was and condition of his heart. No matter what our situations are God loves us. He is ready to take care of our hurts and pains. He is the God of the impossible.
The next Bible verse is evident of that…let us read…
"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." (2 Chr. 16:9)
In conclusion, first, we need adjust our posture towards God; next, we need to set our confidence in what He already said in the Bible and lastly, when God is silent, be still. Set your mind towards to Him. Adjust all aspects of your life towards His heart . Love the people you need to love. Forgive the people you need to forgive. In His time, He will answer your prayer. He will reveal things to you.
1. What kind of situations are you in that God is silent?
2. What are you doing in responding to God when He is silent?
3. What are the things you could do to gear-up or get in tune towards God?